Glasgow A No-Go For Friend And Co

Glasgow Warriors 43 Connacht 17

It was a tough night at the office for Connacht in their PRO 14 encounter with Glasgow Warriors at Scotstoun on Friday night. This match highlighted that Connacht’s strength and depth is not as good as everyone thinks in the absence of Ultan Dillane, Quinn Roux, Bundee Aki, and Jack Carty, who are on international duty for the weekend.

The tone was set for the game right from kick-off. Glasgow received the ball and started a maul and they drove up 10-15 yards, and they got the ball out to winger Kyle Steyn who broke two tackles and laid it off to scrum-half George Horne, who scored the try, after 45 seconds.

Rookie fly-half Conor Fitzgerald struggled from the tee all night, missing the conversion on Stephen Fitzgerald’s try, and two penalties in the first half alone. The 21-year-old Connacht Academy player will be disappointed with his night’s showing as he was subbed off on the 52nd minute for centre Peter Robb, and Kyle Godwin slotted in at fly-half.

Godwin is not a recognised kicker, and akin to 21-year-old Fitzgerald, he struggled from place-kicking. But he did score the conversion on Tom Daly’s 70th minute try, which was met by cheers, even from Glasgow supporters.

Unlike Connacht, Glasgow’s fly half was nearly faultless from the tee. He scored 6/7 of his kicks with an 86% success rate, and he was also brilliant from general play. He showed a moment of genius for Robbie Nairn’s second try, with a precise kick to the right corner, into Nairn’s lap, who touched down.

It was not all doom and gloom for Connacht and they were unlucky in some instances in the game. In the first half, when Glasgow were 7-0 up, Connacht almost scored a try but for a wayward pass from Godwin, winger Matt Healy would have scored. In the second half, Godwin himself almost had a try. He extended out his left arm, but he knocked on just before he could properly ground it.

Tom Daly’s try was an example of Connacht at their best. Full-back Tiernan O’Halloran made a lovely kick to substitute Cian Kelleher who made a lot of yardage and flicked back to an on-rushing Godwin, who laid it off to his centre partner Daly.

Friday’s loss is not the end of the world; they can count themselves lucky that Munster did them a favour by defeating the Ospreys 19-13. Connacht still stay third in Conference A for now, but they’ll be disappointed they didn’t get a bonus point. Andy Friend will be looking to his calendar for the end of the 6 Nations to get his Irish internationals back.

Referee: Ben Whitehouse (WRU)

Man of the Match: Brandon Thomson (Glasgow)

Glasgow Warriors:1. Ole Kebbel (56’ J. Bhattie) 2. Grant Stewart (36’ Try) (45’ Try) 3. Siua Halanukonuka 4. Tim Swanson (30’, Try) (63’ Gordon) 5. Scott Cummins 6. Rob Harley 7. Chris Susaro (Captain) 8. Adam Ashe (61′ Fagerson) 9. George Horne (1’ Try) (68’ N. Frisby) 10. Brandon Thomson (Conversions x5, Penalties x1) 11. Mike Matawalu (49’ Hughes) 12. Stafford McDowell 13. Paddy Kelly (56’ Nairn) 14. Kyle Steyn 15. Ruaidrí Jackson

Subs: Kevin Bryce, Jamie Bhatti, Adam Nicol, Matt Fagerson, Tom Gordon, Nick Frisby, Rory Hughes, Robbie Nairn (68’, 73’ Tries).

Connacht: 1. Denis Buckley (55’ McCabe) 2.Dave Heffernan (51’ Delahunt) 3. Finlay Bealham (55’ Carey) 4. Cillian Gallagher 5. James Cannon 6. Eoin McKeon 7. Colby Fainga’a (56’ Boyle) 8. Jarrad Butler (Captain) 9. Kieran Marmion (59’ Blade) 10. Conor Fitzgerald (51’ Robb) 11. Matt Healy 12. Tom Daly (‘69, Try) 13. Kyle Godwin (Conversion) 14. Stephen Fitzgerald (21’ min Try) 15. Tiernan O’Halloran

Subs: Shane Delahunt, Peter McCabe, Conor Carey, Joe Makysymiw, Paul Boyle (‘63, Try), Caolin Blade, Peter Robb, Cian Kelleher.

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